23 February, 2017

What does the scale above mean to you as a skier or snowboarder in the Gulmarg backcountry? Remember, this advisory is for the Gulmarg backcountry, which means the terrain that is outside of Gulmarg Ski Area. The red areas in the photo below are the Gulmarg backcountry, and the green area is Gulmarg Ski Area. This advisory does not apply to the green zone ski area. Read more here.

For ski area updates during the day please join Gulmarg Avalanche Advisory page on Facebook: http://bit.ly/2jowwOM.


gulmarg avalanche

Snowpack Discussion
23 February 2017 –  Avalanche danger in the Alpine (above 3000 meters) is Considerable (3) today. Natural avalanches possible, human triggered avalanches likely.  Avalanche danger at Treeline (2500m-3000m) is Moderate (2). Natural avalanches unlikely, human triggered dry loose avalanches possible. Below Treeline (<2500m), avalanche danger is Low (1). Natural and human triggered avalanches not likely.  View the photos below in the avalanche problems section to understand the avalanche danger above treeline today. It is possible one of these bowls could release naturally today. Do not think you are safe touring underneath these backcountry bowls, a group above you could trigger a large avalanche that will come down on top of you, or they may release naturally.

http://www.deepsnowsafety.org/index.php/. We now have enough snow in the conifer forests for skiers and riders to get trapped in tree wells. Read more about this phenomenon in the link above. It causes several fatalities each year in other ski regions of the globe.


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Avalanche Problem #1 – Storm Slab


Release of a soft cohesive layer (a slab) of new snow that breaks within the storm snow or on the old snow surface. Storm-slab problems typically last between a few hours and few days.

You can reduce your risk from Storm Slabs by waiting a day or two after a storm before venturing into steep terrain. Storm slabs are most dangerous on slopes with terrain traps, such as timber, gullies, over cliffs, or terrain features that make it difficult for a rider to escape off the side.  You could say we currently have a wind/storm slab problem in the Alpine. The main concern are the large start zones at the top of each backcountry bowls of Mount Apharwat. See photos below. A snowboarder triggered a small wind slab yesterday in Sheenmai bowl on a North aspect. Triggering one of these small wind slabs today in one of the start zones outlined in white below could step down and produce and avalanche the size of the ones seen below.

Start zones of concern for large avalanches today, 23 February 2017.
Start zones of concern for large avalanches today, 23 February 2017.
A large natural avalanche that released during the storm on 19 February, 2017 in Khilanmarg (Gulmarg backcountry).
A large artificially-triggered avalanche released during avalanche control work before opening the ski area yesterday for skiers and snowboarders on 20 February, 2017

Gulmarg Ski Area (green zone) Timings for 23/2/2017:

Phase 1 – 8:15am – 4:30 pm (last cabin at 4:15pm)
Phase 2 – 8:45am – 4:00pm (last cabin at 3:45pm)*
Chair Lift* – 8:45am – 4:00pm (last chair at 3:45pm)

Beacon TrainingToday there are (1) beacons buried on Merry Shoulder today.  The beacon training area here in Gulmarg is located on Merry Shoulder. The orange dot (see photo below) indicates where a red flag is next to a large birch tree. This is the “point last seen”. Start your search here. We have one, two, and three beacons buried here daily.  Please do not dig up the beacons, simply cycle through your Primary (signal) search, Secondary (flux line) search, Pinpoint search, and then Probing. A probe strike indicates the end of your search. If you’re interested in learning more, please come by Gulmarg Ski Patrol base at the bottom of the chair lift.


Next avalanche talk is Tuesday, 28 February 2017 at 7:30pm at Pine Palace Resort. Pine Palace Resort is located in Gulmarg meadow. Talks will continue every Tuesday night at 7:30 pm through 28 March, 2017.